November 20, 2015
"It's not just about me, it's about everybody." Mike Alcorn
MEDFORD TOWNSHIP — Mike Alcorn didn't want to make a scene.
The Shamong Township resident and his wife, Meg, had stopped by Fortune Cookie restaurant in Medford to grab a bite to eat on Thursday afternoon, but were shocked when they were denied service for having Mike's service dog in tow.
"I was embarrassed," said Mike, a combat veteran who relies on 1 1/2 year-old German shepherd Atlas to help ease his post-traumatic stress disorder and other physical issues sustained during his service in the Army.
Mike and Meg Alcorn said an employee of Fortune Cookie restaurant
in Medford Township denied to seat them because Mike's service dogAtlas, was with them on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.
The couple said that despite Atlas' red service vest, federal ID cards, and the fact Mike cited laws prohibiting businesses from turning away customers with service dogs, an employee insisted dogs were not allowed in their establishment and would not seat them.
"He said 'If you want food, you can wait outside,'" Meg recalled in an interview Thursday evening, adding the man soon asked them to step aside so he could help a customer who just walked in.
Brian Berg is the training director of Marlton-based Semper Fido, the nonprofit organization that matched Mike with Atlas in June, and said situations like the one Mike faced happen far too often because businesses aren't aware the Americans with Disabilities Act bans denying service to an individual because they require a service dog.
"It's an absolute disgrace that these guys have to be treated like this, and have to worry about being turned away because no one understands the law," said Berg.
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